As a political outcry grew on Friday over the revelation that an MP had transferred 1 million euros out of the country in May when authorities were struggling to appease Greek citizens’ fears of the repercussions of a possible default on their savings, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos told Parliament that a significant number of lawmakers had moved sums in excess of 100,000 euros out of the country.
In addition to details about MPs who had transferred large amounts of money out of the country in 2009 and 2010, Venizelos said he had acquired information relating to bank transfers from last year. “The list includes politicians, and relatives of politicians, with transfers in excess of 100,000 euros,” Venizelos said. He noted however that the list of names would not be made public as the individuals will be summoned to provide explanations. “Some of the cases might involve health problems or relatives making legal and normal commercial exchanges,” he said.
Earlier, addressing a cabinet meeting, Venizelos had told fellow ministers that there are several public figures among the Greeks who transferred a total of 16 billion euros abroad over the last two years. According to research conducted by the Finance Ministry’s information systems department, 9 percent of this money ended up in Swiss bank accounts.
In a related development, former Parliament Speaker and senior PASOK cadre Apostolos Kaklamanis led a cross-party group of 75 MPs in submitting a request for an amendment to be made to existing legislation regarding the annual declarations submitted by lawmakers and other professionals detailing the size and source of their wealth (“pothen esches”). The deputies -- mostly from socialist PASOK and conservative New Democracy with some independent lawmakers -- are proposing that authorities make public not only the pothen esches declarations of politicians but of state officials and members of the media.